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Legacy of Partition, and a museum 65 years in the making

Once completed, the Partition Museum will include oral testimonies, books, photographs, films, music and fine art.

Written by Glyn Peterson | New Delhi |
August 30, 2015 2:28:13 am

It was in 1950 that journalist Kuldip Nayar first thought about working towards setting up a museum on Partition.

But Nayar soon realised that it was not the right time for such a project.

“I went to Pakistan to consult some people, and I found that the wounds were so raw,” said Nayar, one of the panelists at the inauguration of the Partition Museum Project on Saturday night.

The project was inaugurated by film-maker Mahesh Bhatt. Now, Kishwar Desai, author and head of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, is bringing Nayar’s 65-year-old vision to life.

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The mission is to set up a museum in Delhi, dedicated to commemorating the biggest migration in human history, and one of the most violent episodes South Asia has ever witnessed. Once completed, the Partition Museum will include oral testimonies, books, photographs, films, music and fine art.

Desai also pointed out that the museum was not merely a project, it was so much more. “Already, with the kind of support, goodwill and love that has been pouring in, the dream is becoming real — sooner than we had ever imagined,” Desai said.

While much of the content for the museum will come from older generations, she also expressed gratitude for the interest and engagement of the younger members of the audience. “This generation is willing to look at their past, to look at what their grandparents and  parents went through,” she said. Panelist Alka Pande, an art critic, said she hopes to see paintings in the museum as fine art is under-represented in the narration of Partition.

(Glyn Peterson is an intern with The Indian Express)

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